Really, if you think about it, all technology, if sufficiently advanced, is indistinguishable from magic (Yes, I did just use that quote.) But I don’t want to talk about all technology, simply because technology is such a broad stroke. In fact, everything in the near future will have some component of a computer within in. If you want to get really weird, you can consider our brains to be a computer, and our bodies the gears and parts that move to this computer’s whim. It’s kind of difficult not to think about everything around us in spades to technology. But again, today I want to hone in on one specific facet of technology on this cold new year’s eve (or new years, or whenever you’re reading this.) Let’s talk about phones.
The other day I finally caved in and did what any reasonable person (Me being not reasonable) and downloaded apps on my phone. Previously I had used phones the way our ancestors had wished for us to use phones. Communication. What purpose is this rectangular and quite honestly intrusive object in my pocket good for? That was the question that had lingered through my mind most of my life not having a phone, which was at the time of writing this, 18 years, give or take. When I had received a phone, it was just that, a ways to communicate, and to listen to music. Sometimes I would take notes on it, memos, if you will. But that can be accomplished through a notepad. And even then, I could listen to music using something much simpler as well. But what happened the other day was that I downloaded apps. You see, I decided I needed an external stimulus to bide my time when my main stimulus (my computer) was being preoccupied. When I needed a break, or perhaps simply just to relax in simpler times. The phone to me is a world much smaller and easier to handle than the vast ocean of the computer-net. And so I did what any reasonable person did and downloaded some apps on my phone. Of course with me being the person I am I downloaded games, but not any games. I knew that phone games specifically are designed with a specific intention to specifically thwart my livelihood. I knew better. And so I downloaded rhythm games.
Downloading rhythm games were an easy compromise. I would just play a few songs, mostly ignore whatever textual narrative they were trying to pigeon-hold me through and then just get off. Nothing more, nothing less. But then I got “into” it. The same way I get into games that are just good. These rhythm games are good, they’re fun. And I started exploring more until I found a GBA emulator (My experiences of this can be seen more in-depth in Lets Talk About Games). But to cut it loose, I downloaded what had been essentially an innovative piece of technology, all the games associated with that, into a device that could call anyone in the world, access anything in the world, and capture the world. Through this device that I can hold in my hand and operate with no trouble, I have recreated a time period and in essence can relive a time period. Through this device in my hands, I am able to create and emulate many other worlds as well, I am able to manipulate the world around me with an effortless swipe. That to me is the power of the phone. I had always berated the phone as an invention of mass hysteria. As a means of people all around the world to occupy their times with and their children’s time with. But after caving in, I have come to appreciate the phone as a source of good. There are so many people who talk about the phone and of technology as a source of bad. As a degradation of the masses. It is because laymen don’t understand the implications of such technology that this stigma has aroused society.
To be completely fair, in all of its entirety, I am a hypocrite. I live my life on technology, and I am one of those who would fit into that stigmatized technological zombie. But, there is value to this, there’s value to all of this, everything around us. Much like the sun after a rain storm, we don’t see the things in front of us. It is with no surprise that I had suddenly had these strings of thoughts on something that has practically followed my existence upon taking a closer inspection of it. Upon fully realizing and fully allowing myself to be in that culture, to be able to seep into that world and let myself be swallowed by it and not fight it, I was able to take another perspective of the matter. That to me is insane. The magic of technology will never be fully actualized nor realized, instead, we will live each day in complete awe at the magic it continually exudes. That is why whoever invented the phone to me is no different than a magician.